August 31, 2006
And the Verdict Is . . .
My post in July about trying to figure out if I should attend law school (To Law, or Not to Law) received much more attention that I expected. There were over a hundred very intelligent comments and much great career advice. In addition, the Instapundit himself weighed in after I asked his advice, and the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog considered my conundrum as well.
So after all of that, after meeting with yet another professor, spending a weekend with a friend who is a rising third year student, talking to some family friends, having a beer with a JD who's now a PhD candidate, etc, my decision is . . .
. . . this Marine will not be going to law school.
I could offer you some well-reasoned and craftily-put statement as to how I determined that the ends did not justify the means, or that the cost was too prohibitive, or that the benefits weren't that great and so forth.
But the truth of the matter is that my gut tells me not to go to law school.
I have some other adventures in the works instead. I'll keep those to myself for now.
Thanks to all who commented and offered advice. There's no way I can answer all of your comments but I read and considered each, and really appreciate the time you took to make them.
On a final note: I should mention that I didn't take the LSAT. I made my decision about three weeks ago, before it was time to register for the test.
Energy Followup Post
So there was quite a bit of great discussion in the two threads on Energy Independence in the last couple of weeks. (See here and here.) Two more thoughts. First, frequent commenter "Papa Ray" sent me this link: China nomads on energy's cutting edge, which is quite an interesting story. Frequent readers may know that I have a burning desire to go to Mongolia one day (at least I think I've mentioned that before). I've often wondered if the nomads there would do well with some sort of rugged electrical production system. Maybe something like this: SkyBuilt Power.
And also, a Loyal Reader sent this comment:
Let's get a little creative in our quest to reduce our consumption of
imported petroleum. Use tactics that cost little or nothing.
If every job that could be accomplished by telecommuting were to be
for 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 days a week, we'd reduce our consumption
overnight. A distributed workforce is a good thing, in wartime and
For those who can't telecommute, how about changing the workweek? Four
10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days would reduce consumption by up
Road tolls can be increased without taxing gas, increasing car-pooling.
Right turn-on-red, smart traffic signals, enforcement of pedestrian
scofflaws and a myriad other options, in combination could reduce
consumption immediately, by more than 25%, with very small impact on
No Manhattan Project (i.e., huge waste of taxpayers' funds) necessary.
Change the rules of the game.
Any thoughts, readers?
I'm having problems with comments once again. I cranked up the spamblocker after some spam got through on a previous post and now it seems that the blog is asking for approval for every comment . . .
Working on it . . .
UPDATE: Comments seem to be working nicely now. If you loyal readers experience otherwise, please shoot me an email at the address in the sidebar.
August 30, 2006
A brief plug for my alma mater
Given that Duke University is in the headlines so much these days, I've frequently considered doing a post or two about the ole alma mater. But I find that I'd rather not get bogged down in the details of the controversy, and that there's little I have to say that hasn't been said elsewhere already.
But I would like to pause for a moment to point out one very positive thing about Duke University: the Sunday services in Duke Chapel are truly phenomenal. Not only is the Duke Chapel beautiful, but the music is excellent, and the preaching is simply superb. Dean Samuel Wells has been there for about a year. I've been going all summer since moving back to Durham and have truly been impressed.
But don't take my word for it: the Chapel webcasts each of its services. This past Sunday Dean Wells spoke to a nearly overflowing crowd since students have returned to campus. His sermons are works of art. See the general Chapel site here and if you'd like to view the webcast, go here. His remarks start around the 44:30 mark. There's also a downloadable PDF of the sermon.
Now back to regular programming. Thanks for that moment to shine a little light on Dear Old Duke.
Carolina FreedomNet 2006
I've been invited to be a panelist at the upcoming conference Carolina FreedomNet 2006, which will be held in Greensboro on October 7th. See the link for details. A number of other local Carolina bloggers will be present, and the keynote remarks will be made by Scott Johnson of Power Line. Looks to be great fun and the cost to the public is only $25! That's a steal compared to other conferences I've seen or attended.
America's Schizophrenic View of Warfare
I've written an article for TCSDaily entitled Bipolar Disorder: America's Schizophrenic View of Warfare. It argues that Americans tend to view total war as positive, and counterinsurgencies as negative, rather than merely seeing them as different kinds of conflict. Go see for yourself!
August 22, 2006
Radio Interview -- The Jack Riccardi Show
I'll be interviewed on "Into the Night with Jack Riccardi" tonight around 8:35pm CST. San Antonio listeners can tune in and hear the show on AM 550. We'll be discussing my essay, Unfrozen Caveman Voter from TCSDaily last week. I'll post a transcript if one is available.
August 18, 2006
Discussion: Energy Independence Part Two
Those readers who have been participating in the conversation below on Energy Independence could do no worse than to click on the ad in the sidebar for Ford and see what they're up to. (Or just go here).
My take is that Ford reads the marketplace and understands that there is a widespread demand for vehicles using a different form of energy. That demand may be due to environmental concerns, national security concerns, or economic independence concerns. It doesn't matter. Ford wants to fill that demand. I think they should be commended on an innovative ad campaign too (and no, I don't get revenue per click for Blogads, so I'm not juicing my own bottomlilne here).
All of this reinforces my earlier belief that a sense of legislative forbearance is what is most desperately needed, not some new government program akin to putting a man on the moon. If there are regulatory obstacles to projects like that of Ford, then by all means, let them be removed. But otherwise, let the market sort it out. In the end, the result will be more efficient and achieved faster than any comparable large-scale titanic government effort.
Steve Acuff for the 4th District of North Carolina
I'd like to take a brief moment to make a disclosure and a recommendation. For the past few weeks, I've volunteered about once a week for the congressional campaign of Steve Acuff, who is running in my district, NC 4.
Steve's a great guy. He's a retired Air Force colonel, a Vietnam veteran, and used to fly Air Force 2 for a time. When he left the service he settled down in Raleigh and began working at a small transportation company, where he is now a manager. Now he's decided to run against David Price, the inbumbent.
My interactions with Steve so far have confirmed to me that he's a straight shooter and there's not an ounce of BS in the man. I can honestly say that when I went knocking on the campaign office door to see if there might be a role for me, I expected those in politics to have charisma perhaps, but not much substance. I'm glad to say I've been pleasantly surprised. Steve's a good man.
Though I live in a blue-ish district, and one that has sent David Price to Washington 9 times in the past two decades, I'm still singularly unimpressed with Price. Eighteen years in Congress and not a whole heck of a lot to show for it. Whether one agrees with his positions or not, it's hard not to agree that he has not done very much of substance. I think the district can do better.
In the coming weeks, I might sit down and do an interview with Steve and publish it here on the blog. That's a little off the beaten path from normal topics, but I'm sure no one will mind, and he's quite an interesting character.
If there are any North Carolina-based bloggers out there who would like to interview Steve, shoot me an email. He'd love to chat.
And if you live in NC-4, I wholeheartedly recommend voting for Steve this fall. Visit his campaign website here.
I should say that all of what I'm telling you are my own thoughts, and while I have mentioned to the campaign that I would do a short post, I coordinated its content in no way whatsoever. Also, I am not an employee of the campaign, but just help out a couple of hours a week.
August 15, 2006
TCSDaily Article: Unfrozen Caveman Voter
I've written another piece for TCSDaily entitled, "Unfrozen Caveman Voter." Go check it out and ask yourself: are you part of the caveman demographic?
Discussion Topic: Energy Independence
One of the frequent strategies espoused for the war is that of pursuing independence from the importation of vast sums of foreign oil.
It seems there are many competing agendas among those who favor this move. Many want to end the dependence on fossil fuels in general. That may be well and good, but it doth not make an immediate foreign policy or strategy for war.
Also, many who advocate increasing the use of alternative energy see no way for this to happen but for the government to invest massive sums in such technologies. It seems to me that any sector of the economy in which the government is heavily invested, whether monetarily, from an attention-standpoint, or via regulations, is likely to be inefficient and screwy. Consider public education, health care, pensions, and defense (hey the military is filled with motivated individuals, but it is after all a bureaucracy and as such, filled with nonsense). In other words, it's hard to see how a massive government program to rid our dependence on oil would really serve any immediate strategic aims. I rather think that the government should abolish the energy department altogether and then if there are market alternatives to imported oil, those will begin to shine.
The other agenda for many who insist on an end to imported foreign oil is an old-school isolationism. Rid the US economy of the necessity to have anything to do with oil exporters, and then we can just fence the Middle East in and let them kill each other off. But it seems to me that those who are angry with us now will be no less angry with us if we are more isolated from the world.
Any thoughts? Please discuss.
August 9, 2006
Interview with Alan Furst
I've conducted a brief interview with Alan Furst, who has written several superb spy novels set in pre-WWII Europe. The interview is now up over at TCSDaily.
Furst's own site is www.alanfurst.net.
I have to tell the story of how this came about, cause it's pretty neat.
Mrs. Chester dragged me shopping one day and I ducked into a Borders in need of a reprieve. Browsing around, I moseyed over to the Mystery/Suspense section to look for Furst's new book, The Foreign Correspondent.
I couldn't find it, so I went to the help desk. There, I saw a stack of copies, along with the entire inventory of everything else they had in stock by Furst. "Are these all on hold?" I asked the staff. "No, we've set them aside because he's supposed to come in today and sign them. He's supposed to be here any minute."
Well, this was cool! So soon enough Mr. Furst did arrive and signed a copy for me. I went and sat down in the cafe. Then a thought occurred to me: why not a blog interview? I asked him and he agreed immediately, saying he loves reading blogs.
Anyway, I thought that was very kind of him and a pretty cool little backstory.
Furst's novels are truly fascinating. You feel as though you are really in Europe right before all hell breaks loose. And in some cases after it's broken loose too.
My favorite is Night Soldiers, probably because it's a bit longer than the others, which means all the more intrigue:
I've also read The World at Night and Dark Voyage:
Those were both excellent as well. When reading these works, the scope and depth of the changes that were afoot in Europe really begins to dawn on the reader. Most interestingly perhaps is that everyone seems to know that war is coming . . .
Loyal Readers here at Adventures will probably enjoy any of Furst's novels. Go check out the interview too.
UPDATE: Here's a previous post that references his work as well: Through The Looking Glass.